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Purpose In preparation for a Phase I clinical trial utilizing a combined cytotoxic/immunotherapeutic strategy using adenoviruses expressing Flt3L (Ad-Flt3L) and thymidine kinase (Ad-TK) to treat glioblastoma (GBM), we tested the hypothesis that Ad-TK+GCV would be the optimal tumor killing agent in relation to efficacy and safety when compared to other pro-apoptotic approaches. Experimental Design and Results The efficacy and neurotoxicity of Ad-TK+GCV was compared with Ads encoding the pro-apoptotic cytokines (TNF-α, TRAIL, FasL), alone or in combination with Ad-Flt3L. In rats bearing small GBMs (day 4), only Ad-TK+GCV or Ad-FasL improved survival. In rats bearing large GBMs (day 9), the combination of Ad-Flt3L with Ad-FasL did not improve survival over FasL alone, while Ad-Flt3L combined with Ad-TK+GCV led to 70% long-term survival. Expression of FasL and TRAIL caused severe neuropathology, which was not encountered when we utilized Ad-TK+/−Ad-Flt3L. In vitro, all treatments elicited release HMGB1 from dying tumor cells. In vivo, the highest levels of circulating HMGB1 were observed after treatment with Ad-TK+GCV+Ad-Flt3L; HMGB1 was necessary for the therapeutic efficacy of AdTK+GCV+Ad-Flt3L, since its blockade with glycyrrhizin completely blocked tumor regression. We also demonstrated the killing efficacy of Ad-TK+GCV in human GBM cell lines and GBM primary cultures; which also elicited release of HMGB1. Conclusions Our results indicate that Ad-TK+GCV+Ad-Flt3L exhibits the highest efficacy and safety profile amongst the several pro-apoptotic approaches tested. The results reported further support the implementation of this combined approach in a Phase I clinical trial for GBM.
Candolfi M, Yagiz K, Foulad D, Alzadeh GE, Tesarfreund M, Muhammad AK, Puntel M, Kroeger KM, Liu C, Lee S, Curtin JF, King GD, Lerner J, Sato K, Mineharu Y, Xiong W, Lowenstein PR, Castro MG. Release of HMGB1 in response to proapoptotic glioma killing strategies: efficacy and neurotoxicity. Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Jul 1;15(13):4401-14. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-0155